From my book of personal essays, "Caution: Mermaid Crossing"
Valentine's Day Event 2018 published on Lit Up/Medium
I wanted to slide into that Restoration Hardware bedding in your dark wood four poster bed and never get out. My head would sink into that big pillow and I’d close my eyes waiting for you to crawl in next to me. I want you to hold me for twenty-four hours or forever. I’m broken in many nooks and crannies of my being, but when you wrap your long arms and legs around me holding me with your head nuzzled in my neck, as if you won’t let go - I’ll melt, and wounds will heal. You will seal up the gaping wounds of trauma in your masculine style and I will feel safe; maybe safer than I’ve ever felt.
The smooth duvet in a perfectly made bed would be disrupted by our bodies. I hope the high thread count will never be the same, as I hope you and I will never be the same. I’ll gaze at the manly dark wood spiral of the four posters in all its New England coziness. It adds a layer of protectiveness I yearn for. Alone and isolated during unimaginable assault to my body, I’ve needed you. You don’t know because you did not see. I wanted to enjoy time being something other than a patient. I’m good at presenting myself as pretty and polished. But you saw that I was pale a time or two. I want to be the desirable woman, not a sickly one. I learned long ago to present well. Vanity has its virtues.
I hid my mangled non-reconstructed left breast made ugly by the ravages of multiple surgeries and multiple staph infections. I wore the bra that had a slit to slide in a manufactured filler for women like me. I hated it, and never looked at myself. I resented the pillow filler I wore. That’s me. Not every woman would hold vanity, but I care and I’m single; a passionate romantic. I probably care too much. You never noticed or understood it. You never saw me, really saw me; certainly not un-clothed. I was always dressed nice with makeup perfectly applied on our outings. Eventually, I told you while you put your hand over mine to console me. I knew I had to take off the mask, but it was a lovely distraction. It surprised and concerned you. You felt you could’ve been a support to me. I would’ve been too embarrassed. I prefered showing up concealed and attractive.
But now I’m nearly physically healed, and I’m reconstructed. They’re not perfect, and they’re not my beautiful breasts discarded long ago in some hazardous waste bin. Will I ever feel whole again? My natural breasts were full, sensual and sexual. Now, without any feeling, they are just there to fill out a bra, having the superficial appearance of pretty breasts. I’m far more prepared to be intimate, but unprepared for how different it will be. Although older and past a grueling ordeal, there’s that part of me that is the same attractive, sexual woman. I know that love, and lying in your inviting bed with you next to me could mend broken parts of my feminine being more than meditation or yoga ever could. It’s my mermaid essence that still desires to be desired, deeply connect with a lover; and believe that I’ll swim through the rest of my days with a handsome kindred spirit.
Keep on swimming through life,
Keep on swimming through life,